Fall in the Back Yard

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Our yard sways gracefully between the seasons. It is a wonderful spot for entertaining and it is very sad when we are finally pushed inside for the winter. As we move into fall, the heaters and fire pits have assumed their position on the patio and summers toys are put away. The garden will soon go to sleep. The peppers and eggplants are the last holdouts and they are beginning to tire. We will miss fresh tomatoes, the scent of the basil and the zucchini with it’s glorious blossoms.

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Sadly, the Meyer Lemon Trees will soon move indoors in preparation for the cold weather. Right now they are glorious, the lemons are ripening and blossoms are perfuming the air with their fragrance. Each year is so exciting, with more lemons adorning the trees. We have been nursing these from saplings, and they are doing beautifully. As we contemplate the move indoors, it crosses our minds that within a few years the trees will outgrow our doorways. We will deal with that dilemma when the time comes but for now the trees will be a welcome addition to our dining room, setting the stage for our winter entertaining.

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Each year we pick a new project. A few years ago we expanded the patio and added seat walls, we add to the outdoor kitchen, we rearrange the planting beds each spring. Future plans include a gas fire pit and bar. After that, who knows?

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Never fear, Steve will still be using the outdoor kitchen all winter. I sometimes think his grill is his best bud. He will grab a gin & tonic, turn on the heater and happily cook out there all winter. We are planning an outdoor party in a few weeks where our southern friends are introducing us to Brunswick Stew. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The deep fryer has moved to the patio for the football parties so he can fry his famous wings.

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As I pick the last of the peppers and prepare them for canning, I’m anticipating the glorious fall color that is starting to peek through. The transition between the seasons is amazing to me.

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The peppers I canned today were beautiful, the color of fall red, green and orange.  This is the last of them.  Winter will be here in a few months transforming the fountain into a giant wedding cake, then spring will arrive bringing new life to the garden. The Landscape Architect in me starts to plan for the next transition but I tell her to be patient. Let’s enjoy fall while it lasts.

Pickled Peppers
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of Mixed peppers of your choice*
  • 1 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2½ Teaspoons of Honey
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 ounce Small Hot Peppers such as Habanero or Thai Bird, seeded
Instructions
  1. Combine the peppers, vinegars, sugar and salt in a 5 quart pan. Bring to a simmer, add the honey and stir to dissolve.
  2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer to jars, cover with the brine, place the lids tightly on the jars, and store in the refrigerator for 1 week.
  4. The peppers will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one year.
Notes
*Use rubber gloves to handle the peppers to keep the oils from seeping into your hands and burning them.
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